Ch.4 Obtaining Assistance for Making Buying Decisions
• The systematic process of gathering, recording, and analyzing information about problems
related to marketing; involves using information or data from many sources.
Using Marketing Research
One of the most frequent uses of marketing research is to locate information that describes current
economic and market conditions that would help you better understand the environment in which you
• Developing a customer profile will help you make day-to-day business decisions such as
selecting products to purchase and choosing which types of promotion to use.
• Determining an area’s unemployment rate, new housing starts, and other similar economic data
can be used to make forecasts about future sales. Ex of economic data that buyers use are
commodity prices, building permits, unified orders for durable, stock prices, consumer
confidence, new plants/equipment, unemployment claims.
• Many times buyers are faced with conflicting data when making a decision
Good marketing research allows you to anticipate and capitalize on changes occurring with customers.
The size of your store will affect how marketing research is conducted—most small retailers can’t afford
the money or the time to analyze hundreds of customer surveys so they rely on newspapers or
magazines or observing customer (informal surveys)
• Your first step should be to locate all relevant data from secondary sources (little or no cost):
– Government agencies
– Trade journals
– Trade associations
In many situations, secondary data is not enough to help make a decision, need to collect primary data:
• Primary data is collected by interviewing consumers
• The key advantage is that it specifically relates to the problem being researched
• Obtaining primary data may be time-consuming and expensive
When conducting marketing research, you are looking for answers, not just information; study the data
that you have collected and determine their meaning.
INTERNAL SOURCES include:
• Store records
• Sales associates
• Increasingly, retailers are tracking more than just total sales, including types of products that
customers generally purchase together or characteristics of customers who purchase a
• The key limitation to relying on sales and inventory records to predict consumer demand is that
they reveal only what you customers have purchased or not purchased; does not reflect what
the customer would have purchased if the merchandise had been in stock.
Some stores operate a formal Want slip system: A form is completed each time a customer requests a
product not in stock. Could help plan future merchandise assortments if a large number of you
customers are making similar requests. Cannot meet every customer request. Management
• Essential for buyers located at the headquarters of a retail chain. In large stores, you probably
need to consult with your merchandise manager as you plan your purchasing decisions. Before
approving your merchandise plan, your merchandise manager may suggest changes.
– The merchandise manager can help:
• Improve your merchandise plan
• Predict economic and market trends
– The finance officer will need to be consulted on your buying plan
You should obtain input from the store’s sales associates. Records may reveal what merchandise is
selling or not selling, but only sales associates may be able to tell you why it is selling or not.
- Sales associates are in continuous contact with customers and are aware if their wants and needs
which may not be reflected in sales records.
- are the store’s personal representative to its customers and are in a position to conduct primary
research for you. May reveal if they have been asked for merchandise that the store does not sell. Ex:
they can ask about a customer’s satisfaction with past purchases or they can get requests for items not
carried by the store
-during telephone conversations or store meetings, you should be able to determine which sales
associates are the most insightful and can offer you genuine feedback. Discuss with them what should
be in stock and allow them to inspect new produ